OPRF graduate shot and killed in West Pullman

Ulysses "Chris" Gissendanner gunned down Wednesday afternoon


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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

The 19-year-old graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School who was shot and killed last week while driving in the West Pullman neighborhood was an aspiring rapper who always had a smile on his face, according to his former teacher.

Ulysses "Chris" Gissendanner, who graduated from OPRF in June, was always cracking jokes and seemed to get along with everyone, said Chris Cashman, his former Spanish teacher.

Gissendanner was driving in the 12400 block of South Union Avenue around 2:35 p.m., Jan. 2, when he was shot by an unknown offender, according to the Chicago Police News Affairs Office. He was taken to Roseland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, a spokesman said. No one is in custody.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Gissendanner was shot in the head. Police said he was not believed to be the target of the shooting.

OPRF spokeswoman Karin Sullivan confirmed that Gissendanner was a recent graduate of the school. His mother, Aridecy Tate, told the Tribune that her son moved to Oak Park, where his father lives, to get a better education. His family has lived on the South Side for years. His mother had recently moved to Arkansas.

Gissendanner's parents could not be reached for comment. He has a sister at OPRF who is a senior.

Cashman, who no longer works at OPRF, said he ran into Gissendanner on the train a few weeks ago, and his former student told him about his plans to get into the music industry as a rapper. He told Cashman he traveled around the city performing different gigs, and Cashman said he seemed really passionate about wanting to reach people through music.

Gissendanner had been attending Daley College this fall and was hoping to become the manager of a business, his mother said. He had performed concerts in Chicago during the last year.

Multiple news sources reported Gissendanner was the stepbrother of Chicago rapper Chief Keef, whom Chicago police are investigating for his possible involvement in the shooting death last year of fellow Englewood rapper Joseph 'Lil JoJo' Coleman.

Gissendanner's mother said he was working for Kraft Foods at the company's bakery plant, 7300 S. Kedzie Ave. He was driving from his aunt's home to work when he was shot.

Reader Comments

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Julie C.  

Posted: January 7th, 2013 7:14 PM

Golly, who needs guns when you gots a newspaper comment forum. Where the King cowers in fear, methinks.


Posted: January 7th, 2013 6:35 PM

C'mon - And the other Framers had concerns about a standing army. We have a standing military & citizens to guard against tyranny. Sounds like the compromise they wanted. SCOTUS had it right this time. Guess we can agree to disagree.


Posted: January 7th, 2013 3:14 PM

The quote regarding the blood of patriots and tyrants was made, I believe, in reference to Shay's Rebellion. They predate the 2nd amendment. His sentiment seems clear, but the framers felt otherwise. They allowed for the establishment of an army and gave Congress the power to call for "Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions." Clearly they had some concerns about unchecked bands of armed citizens. Hence the call for "A well regulated militia".

Tom from River Forest  

Posted: January 7th, 2013 2:45 PM

Jefferson also said: "Happy for us, that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions."


Posted: January 7th, 2013 12:46 PM

C'mon- Many of the Framers rejected standing armies & preferred a citizen army equipped with their own weapons. Framer Gerry of Ma & Mason of Virginia said a standing army was susceptible to tyrannical use by a power hungry G. Of course a militia had to be well-regulated-how else to fight a revolutionary war & win. Jefferson re the 2nd when quoted, "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants" - only with individual gun rights.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 7th, 2013 11:22 AM

Erosion, only through the efforts of the NRA and other gun advocates, has the right to bear arms been maintained. Otherwise, they would have been banned a long time ago. There is constant pressure to weaken the individuals right to bear arms from the left. Even simple things such as registration can be abused (see the newspaper publishing gun owner info for political purposes). You have to be careful with the incrementalism as it can bite you over the long term no matter how well intentioned


Posted: January 7th, 2013 10:59 AM

I'm not aware that gun rights have eroded. The Supreme Court expanded gun rights in the DC and Chicago rulings. You can now get a concealed carry permit in almost every state and probably everywhere by the end of the year. You can carry in National Parks. People brought guns to Tea Party rallies. Where is the erosion of rights?

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 7th, 2013 10:32 AM

The part after well regulated says "being necessary to the security of a free State". In other words, the populace bearing arms is more about protecting the people from it's own government, not necessarily foreign ones. The founders knew what happens when government becomes tyrannical and in their wisdom knew having an armed populace is one way to prevent tyrannical takeover. Unfortunately, too many of you are falling victim to incrementalism in regards to the erosion of your rights.


Posted: January 7th, 2013 9:42 AM

Thank you, C'mon. The terms "well regulated" may indeed hold the answer.


Posted: January 7th, 2013 9:27 AM

rj -- I didn't rewrite history. The Supreme Court reinterpreted the Constitution. I've read the decisions and many of the historical documents. I've not seen where the framers referred to a militia of one. If that were the case, why the need for the term well regulated? Gun fanatics ignore that term. My statement of the facts is not a rewriting of history. Your statement and subsequent backpedalling (without admitting error), however, about Jefferson writing the Constitution was a rewrite.


Posted: January 6th, 2013 9:58 PM

C'mon - My post from 11:20am stands. Seems like the interpretation up until 2008 had been mis-interpreted & incorrect. It's now determined what the framers had always intended - individuals were the militia with their own guns. Stop trying to re-write history.

janice rubin from oak park   

Posted: January 6th, 2013 8:58 PM

A young man is dead and 90% of the comments are about gun control....this is not the platform, either leave a mesage for the family or share a memory if yo knew the young man, like his teacher did....

u r missing the point  

Posted: January 6th, 2013 8:26 PM

The article is about the tragic death of Mr. Gissendanner. He was shot while driving. Having a gun wouldn't have helped him much. Random violence that resulted in the death of an innocent person because the perpetrator had access to a gun.


Posted: January 6th, 2013 8:21 PM

rj -- Up until 2008 the Supreme Court held that the second amendment was for the states to organize militias as a balance to federal power. It was not for a private citizen to amass an arsenal. It didn't forbid it but neither, in the opinion of the court, did the Constitution extend that right to individuals. The framers specified a well regulated militia. One person alone isn't a militia, nor is he or she well regulated. You extend the the Constitution beyond its original meaning here.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 6th, 2013 7:53 PM

Brian - could it be that they know the neighbor would probably shoot back! Armed thugs pray on unarmed people who don't choose to defend themselves. An interview with a former thief revealed that the publication of the names of gun owners in New York makes it easy to determine what houses to stay away from. The hand wringers are now at additional risk - tsk tsk tsk.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 6th, 2013 7:43 PM

To rj and Ray: I have it on good authority that citizens of Israel carry there fully automatic military weapons and ammunition home with them, because citizens are all members of the military.Same for Switzerland. Yet you never hear of any shootings over there.Any idea as to why armed citizens with military weapons dont turn on one another?


Posted: January 6th, 2013 11:41 AM

Walton County, GA- A woman sees a stranger by her home trying to enter. She takes her twin sons & heads to the basement to hide. The intruder finds them but not without a gun pointed in his face. As a last resort she shots him 5 times. He flees, collapses, taken to hospital awaiting surgery. Three lives saved. Possible death, rape, kidnappings, beatings, robbery, arson averted because of her individual gun rights. Rarely do you hear of these every day occurrences.


Posted: January 6th, 2013 11:20 AM

The main result of a conceal and carry law is that the criminal will make sure the first bullet fired is a kill. Lets dig deeper and understand that when police cannot profile someone as a gang member or up to no good, these crimes are more likely to happen. It's not racial profiling when you're a black man living in a black or mixed neighborhood.


Posted: January 6th, 2013 11:20 AM

C'mon-Sounds like a court is only activist when it interprets the law as intended. Surely an indication you are quite left. The court, relying on historical analysis of 18th century phrases in statutes, interpreted militia to mean individual able bodied men to respond when needed with their own guns. They also found the right to bear arms fundamental to ordered liberty.


Posted: January 6th, 2013 10:10 AM

What about the liberty of someone to go attend school, a movie, a grocery store, etc. without being shot by a gunman with high capacity magazines? If we don't have that freedom then we already have tyranny. You talk about your rights. I'm talking about the rights of society as a whole.


Posted: January 6th, 2013 10:08 AM

The activist conservative court expanded the right to individuals in the Heller & McDonald cases in 2008 and 2010 respectively. If you want to argue that you need guns to protect yourselves from the tyranny of the federal government, join the Illinois National Guard and act within a regulated militia. That's the Constitutional intent. By the way, I don't want all your guns but I want limits on what can be purchased. MANY gun owners (most of them that I know) agree with that.


Posted: January 6th, 2013 10:02 AM

Ray and rj, it's interesting that you automatically assume that my position, since it seems different to yours, is "left". The difference between cars and guns is clear from a social utility standpoint. If you can't admit that then how do you expect us to respect the rest of your views? Up until recently, the 2nd amendment was interpreted by the Supreme Court as applying to the rights of states to keep a "well regulated militia". It was a right for states, not individuals.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: January 5th, 2013 7:26 PM

Very sad. My thoughts and prayers to this young man's family.


Posted: January 5th, 2013 12:14 PM

C'mon - Let's stop talking about guns and cars and realize this issue is about liberty vs tyranny. If the majority of you can't understand that basic premise we are done as a self governing nation. My God people get a hold of yourselves. We live in an imperfect world and no amount of 'progressive' groupthink will make it perfect. It's also the 'progressive' culture that has contributed to so many issues we have no hope of solving.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 5th, 2013 11:59 AM

@ C'mon - I do see a relevance - between a falling down drunk who drives a car through a school zone and a thug who uses a gun to settle a grudge. Both should be in jail! Another relevance could be the guy who goes to the range to participate in shooting sports and the family who takes the car to get to a picnic - neither of these are a threat to society and both are participating in legal activities. We get into shaky areas when we equate one doing a legal activity with the other doing an illegal one. The argument always seems to be comparing apples to oranges which is unfair


Posted: January 5th, 2013 9:46 AM

Can we please stop comparing gun deaths with deaths in car accidents? Cars provide a social and economic utility that benefits society as a whole. We regulate their ownership, use, and operation. Guns are quite apart from that. It seems the main argument for their utility is to protect against "a bad guy with a gun." So, no guns means no reason for guns. Before you jump in my face on this, please admit you understand the difference between guns and cars. If not, you surrender all credibility.

thoughts and prayers  

Posted: January 5th, 2013 9:42 AM

My heart goes out to the family of this young man. This is a tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with them.

OP Guy  

Posted: January 5th, 2013 8:46 AM

Rj, you can't go into a cinema with a club and kill loads of people, especially with the same ease as guns, from a safe difference. I'd rather take my chances with some criminal with a club as oppose to a gun if that meant a gun ban.


Posted: January 5th, 2013 1:39 AM

Historian - Yes, Governor Morris of Pa was in charge of the committee of 56(?) framers to draft the final copy of the Constitution, James Madison being the primary author. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams & Thomas Paine were still influential though they were not involved in its writing. Perhaps Jefferson influenced their reference to slavery to appease many who were morally against it & those who found it economically necessary at the time.


Posted: January 4th, 2013 11:17 PM

Deepest sympathy to the family, and apologies for my fellow villagers, who can't seem to not politicize everything.

Historian from Oak Park  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 10:44 PM

rj- Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, a much more radical document than the Constitution to which you refer, which was written by a group of framers, including Madison and Governor Morris of Pennsylvania.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 5:38 PM

@ Henry G you guys go to any end to blame the NRA for the worlds woes, without a factual shred of proof. Yes they do lobby for protection of the second amendment. We have experienced the tenacity of ILA here in Oak Park and right to own guns was confirmed. I don't know of a single gun that the NRA has offered for sale. The M-1 Garand program is offered by the Civilian Marksmanship Program . The American Rifleman is their monthly magazine and it is chock full of notification of local, state and regional competitions, results and schedules of classes to become a certified range safety officer. Never have they promoted any illegal action. Try to find another boogie man to attack - many of us know better.


Posted: January 4th, 2013 5:15 PM

So voting to keep American safe re FISA somehow cancels out Feinstein's basic socialistic worldview which clearly lines up with Obama's? Slavery in the Constitution is referenced though term not used. Slavery was essential for the economy to thrive & immediate abolition would cause some states to secede. Therefore, Jefferson excluded any reference. It did open the door for the eventual abolition of slavery by a Republican President, much to the chagrin of southern Democrats.

Henry Goldblum  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 4:45 PM

The 2012 version of Dianne Feinstein is no liberal. Check the re-authorization of FISA and her hand in it. Nor is Obama, but that defeats a conservative meme, and sells guns, which is what the NRA is at the end: a gunseller lobbyist. As to the Constitution, slavery was also once in it. As was a ban on selling Liquor. Times change, and people would do well to understand that, ie George Will and his view of gay marriage: opposition is literally dying out.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 3:36 PM

@ Gizmo Dog - Most everything you have mentioned has some local, state or federal law that applies. The people you anguish over don't care what laws you make so long as no one enforces them. Start locking bad guys up and throwing away the key. Put them in some hell hole prison and quit listening to the ACLU and we will see the reductions you want. Let the punishment fit the crime.


Posted: January 4th, 2013 3:33 PM

In 1995 Feinstein called for an outright ban on all firearms while she conceal carried to protect herself from terrorists, the New World Liberation Front, who failed to bomb her home. Harry Reid also carried to " protect himself from a lot of bad people". If it weren't for liberal double standards they would have no standards at all.


Posted: January 4th, 2013 3:21 PM

Another senseless death caused by someone with a gun, possibly/probably obtained illegally. How that is prevented is a question yet unanswered. Why not start by preventing more guns from being sold or by registering every gun sale? Also, confiscate any/all guns registered or not from any owner arrested for any criminal act or mental defect. Ban the sale of existing assault-style weapons between private parties and only allow sales of new ones to police and military. We have to start somewhere.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 2:31 PM

@Tom - you want to bet some kind of executive order comes down shortly? Don't bet against that one!

Tom from River Forest  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 1:53 PM

Wow Ray, the paranoia has finally got control of you huh?

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 1:45 PM

Obama is plotting an executive order that bans only a narrow classification of fire arms. If a bullet comes out the front very fast, it is an assault weapon and therefore not allowed. I jest but worry as well. The second amendmet is there to protect us from the likes of Obama, Durbin, Feinstein et al.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 1:33 PM

Howard, I don't have an issue with background checks or waiting periods. The problem is guns are already highly restricted despite the false meme that any nut case/thug can go out and by a machine gun (you can't). Gun advocates rightly believe if you give an inch you will lose a mile on a slippery slope. I don't even own guns currently but still understand the consitution rights at stake and longer term implications.

Mike Hedges from oak park  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 1:17 PM

My heart goes out to the parents and family of young Chris Gissendanner. I feel your pain and share your tears.

Howard Hunter  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 1:17 PM

Uncommon, I am not talking about a gun BAN. Yes, it is easy to make me sound foolish by saying I want to ban guns, thus ban cars because of drunk driving. I am talking about restrictions on who should own guns. Yes, some criminals will still get guns, but not all will. Should we allow guns in homes where mentally ill people live? I would say no. Do we need breath monitors on chronic drunk drivers' cars? Yes, a restriction, not a ban. Can you agree to any restriction on guns?


Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:55 PM

You gun control fanatics can contact all the legislators you want to change or dissolve the 2nd but it's all the county sheriffs around the country who will hold the line against gun confiscation if it comes to that.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:53 PM

Stats Matter, if you really want to splice numbers it only further proves my point of liberal hysteria and hypocrisy about low probability events. The point simply is it makes ZERO sense to ban guns for millions of gun owners when 99.99% of them don't result in deaths or criminal activity, just like you wouldn't ban millions of cars when a similar number die in auto accidents yearly whether from DUI, speeding, or whatever.


Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:39 PM

Take a look at the UK Guardian website - gun deaths replaced with rampant out of control stabbing deaths. Overall, findings show hammers and clubs used more often than rifles. When there's a will there's a way. 2nd amendment will stand as our right to defend ourselves under any circumstances.

Statistics matter  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:36 PM

According to NHTSA, 211 children died in drunk driving accidents in 2010. According to the CDC over 2,900 children died of gunfire in 2009. Get your facts right.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:23 PM

Howard, more innocent people/children die every year from DUIs than guns. Should you as a safe driver be forced to give up your car because a small number of dumbasses feel it is ok to drink and drive? After all, if no one has cars then no one can die needlessly from DUI, right? It is all about the kids, right? I'll wait for you to turn in your car and walk, bike, or ride CTA everywhere. Why should your rights to drive supercede everyone else's safety on the streets?

OP Guy  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:16 PM

The whole idea that gun bans are only good for disarming innocent people is ludicrous. The UK put a ban into affect after a school massacre more than a decade and a half ago, and not only did gun crime drop dramatically, there hasn't been a single shooting in a school since. I'd say the ban was and is pretty effective. We've already tried legalising guns, and it doesn't work, which brings to mind the definition of stupidity; continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results.

OP Guy  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:08 PM

Gun nuts will only talk about how people can defend themselves and others with more guns, but will rarely talk about the fact that there are so many instances where guns would be useless in self defence or home defence, and than in fact having and using a gun could and does cause more harm. The countless children that have found their parents gun, the burglar that steals the gun, the person who shoots the wrong person etc... Developing awareness will go a lot future in terms of self defence.

Howard Hunter  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:07 PM

We have the TSA to stop another 9/11 style attack. It might stop 1% of the would-be terrorists. Might. If we can justify the TSA and its billions of dollars, why cannot we justify some restrictions to stop 1% of gun crime. The killer here didnt care about gun laws, certainly, but maybe some restrictions will stop a crazy OPer from getting a gun and waking into Mann School...or Poor Phil's or Maya del Sol....worthwhile? Why not?


Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:02 PM

Horrible. Does anything good ever happen on the 12600 block of South Anything in Chicago? For fun, do a google maps street view of 12649 S Emerald Ave, Chicago, IL..."This is not garbage" is but one man's opinion.

OP Guy  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:00 PM

Op Rez, how would "conceal and carry" have been useful in this case? Exactly, it wouldn't have. What gun nuts fail to mention is that a very large amount of guns are sold to criminals by "legal" gun owners. When you create a ban, the supply of guns dries up for criminals as they get confiscated. It becomes much harder for they to buy them, and less people get shot. All gun nuts and the NRA care about is pumping more guns into society without considering the disastrous consequences.

Joseph Coffey  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 12:00 PM

545 and Uncommon: is there a single restriction that should be placed on the sale of guns? Any? Please name any such restrictions. Should the blind be allowed to have a gun? They cant get drivers' licences. Am i ridiculous? I need to be ridiculous to try to get you to name ANY restriction on gun ownership. Is a flame thrower a gun? If so, should I be able to buy one? What about a grenade launcher? Chemical weapons, ya know, to defend my property and life.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 10:45 AM

#545, they aren't thinking which is the problem and why you can't have a rational discussion on this issue with the left or most issues for that matter. Facts and logic simply don't matter. Just emotion and feeling good. it is almost hilarious to think about. Most gun crimes are commited by crimals with illegally possed firearms, therefore in the liberal mind we must pass laws to stop law abiding citizens from legally buying guns. I get a chuckle just even thinking about this "logic."

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: January 4th, 2013 9:56 AM

Muriel & Patricia...do you really think that the criminal who shot this young man cares a lick about gun laws?? The criminal is just that...a criminal. He'll get a gun no matter what law you want passed to make yourselves feel good. Please think about the real problem...the complete destruction of the African American family by do-good liberal social policy. We're all reaping what LBJ & the left sowed in the '60's. Thanks for nothing.

Property Tax Payer   

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 9:15 PM

First and foremost, my deepest sympathy to his family and all who knew him. I am surprised that he did not stay here and continue his education at Triton College.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 8:46 PM


Chris Cashman from Chicago  

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 8:04 PM

Ulysses was a student of mine last year. Such a bright young man, and so much fun in class. I am saddened by this news.

Op Rez   

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 4:37 PM

Lack of conceal and carry has caused lives. Illinois is the only state that doesn't allow. Folks might be less likely to shoot if there is a strong possibility that someone else may have a gun

muriel schnierow from Oak Park,Illinois 60302  

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 3:53 PM

i have called 2 congresspersons urging that they sponsor a total gun ban in the US House Of Representatives.the misreading of the 2nd amendment has cost enough lives. (I would exempt hunting under controlled conditions)

Another Oak Park resident  

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 3:41 PM

Rest in peace.

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